Jack Ryder, working on a ranch in the high country, is heading toward his dream of becoming foreman and marrying the boss's daughter, but he blows it. When his beloved Kate returns from her finishing school back east, new fiancé in tow, he hits the bottle, not to mention a few of his work mates.
A disconsolate trip down the mountain followed by six months in a drunken haze sees him sitting on a log in the drizzling rain, gun in hand, the end in mind.
In a blinding moment of sanity he envisages a fresh perspective and heads off in an attempt to make it a reality.
Needless to say, old habits die hard, and it could be many a year before that hot headed youth will rest easy within the cloak of maturity. In the meantime, many trials are to be faced, many men will die.
Pushing beyond the limits of his own newly defined boundaries, Jack first stirs the Dobson brothers into bone-breaking violence. Another encounter with these same thugs sees him reverting to using his side-arm in anger for the first time. A cat and mouse game ensues with the local sheriff as Jack endeavours to weld a relationship with the Mexican family he has unwittingly embroiled in his lawless acts.
Life begins to conform to his dreams, until the advent of the banditos - one man against seven. Achieving success, and thinking he would now be accepted by the locals, Jack is forced out by Rodriguez, the local land baron. To even the balance, Jack has his special goodbye with the man's wife, hardly the sign of any newfound maturity.
Rodriguez sends an assassin after him and Jack is sickened by the way he continues to involve his friends in his self-indulgent dramas. Maybe, just maybe, if he handles this crisis well, he'll give Rodriguez his just deserts and find that maturity and comfort he seeks.